Wolverines’ season ends after a 3-1 defeat to CBU in WAC Tournament

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Utah Valley men’s soccer team wasn’t able to overcome a three-goal performance by CBU.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Utah Valley men’s soccer team (7-8-1, 5-4 conference) fell 3-1 to the California Baptist University Lancers (9-6-3, 4-3-2) in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinal on Wednesday evening in Riverside, California. 

After both teams headed into the half tied 1-1, the Lancers scored two goals in the middle of the second frame to propel themselves past the Wolverines.

The tournament loss brings the Wolverines’ season to an end. 

The Wolverines finished the regular season 7-7-1 and 5-4 in conference play. During the regular season, UVU was dominant at home, finishing 5-0 but was 2-7-1 on the road. The Wolverines ended their regular season with a 2-1 home win over CBU (and clinched a first-round tournament bye) on Nov. 4 before rematching with the Lancers in the WAC tournament. 

CBU outshot UVU 19-10 in shots while the Wolverines outshot the Lancers 7-6 in shots on goal and 6-3 in corner kicks. The Lancers also picked up 14 fouls, including two yellow cards, while the Wolverines only had nine.

Aaron Nixon scored the lone goal for the Wolverines and led the team in shots with three and shots on goal with two. Own Knecht and Mark Andros followed with two shots apiece and combined for three shots on goal. Three other Wolverines had one shot. 

CBU goalkeeper Nolan Premack saved five of the Wolverines’ attempts while UVU goalie Jason Smith saved three of his own.

Alejandro Silva started things off for the Wolverines with a quick shot to the bottom center of the post in the first minute but Premack made the save. 

Adolfo Pino, assisted by Brian Gonzalez and Anthony Vargas, responded for CBU by rifling in the first Lancers’ goal in the sixth minute. 

The Lancers remained persistent on the offensive side of the ball over the next 24 minutes, firing four shots over that span. 

Fortunately for the Wolverines, Nixon, assisted by Loed Klaasen, was able to score the equalizer for UVU in the 30th minute to tie the match 1-1. 

The rest of the half went relatively uneventful until the final five minutes when the Lancers fired two shots but missed both attempts. 

The second half began with both teams exchanging shots, including a close attempt by Nixon in the 50th minute that was saved by Premack. Knecht gave the Wolverines another great look in the 54th minute with a bullet toward the bottom left corner of the post, but the Lancers were able to stop the attempt. 

CBU continued to battle in Wolverine territory, eventually getting Leo Mendez, assisted by David Cordes, to drill in goal number two for the Lancers in the 63rd minute and retake the lead 2-1. 

Knecht tried to respond a few minutes later but his attempt went wide right. 

After an attempt by CBU’s Luis Meuller that was saved by Smith in the 69th minute, Mueller, assisted by Mendez, was able to score immediately on the follow-up and put the Lancers up 3-1. 

CBU continued to keep their foot on the pedal, firing four more shots over the following nine minutes.

Andros tried to get the Wolverines back in the game in the 79th and 83rd minutes, respectively, but both attempts were saved by Premack. Freshman Elijah Gozo tried to locate the bottom left corner of the post in the 84th minute but Premack made yet another save. 

The Lancers would then hold on to win the match 3-1. 

The Wolverines had a season full of ups and downs in head coach Kyle Beckerman’s second season as they started the 2022 campaign 2-5-1, including a tie to (at the time) No. 5 Oregon State and a loss to No. 8 Washington. The Wolverines also began their conference schedule with consecutive losses to Air Force and Grand Canyon University, respectively. 

However, the Wolverines responded to the adversity strongly, going 5-2 in their final seven regular-season games, including a three-game win streak to close out the regular season. The Wolverines are also young, only losing two seniors in Easton Embley and Nico Torres, and currently have 25 freshmen or sophomores.